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Unsupervised Interns Doing Surgery? Why This Qualifies for Medical Malpractice

by Maurice Moore

Surgical interns are typically not allowed to participate unsupervised in surgeries until their third year of schooling. Even then, they can only do minor surgeries, not complicated procedures involving the expertise of a much more experienced surgeon. If you find out that your surgery was conducted by a first- or second-year surgical intern, it may fall under medical malpractice. This only becomes a case when the following are true. 

You Have Proof That the Intern Is Only a First- or Second-Year Intern

It is difficult to get the proof necessary to show that your surgery was performed solely by a first- or second-year intern. It is even more difficult to get proof that your intern was unsupervised. If you have proof of both these things or you have a nurse from the operating room that will attest to this, then that is the first big hurdle. 

The Intern Caused You Pain and Suffering and Subsequent Surgeries

There is a reason that only third-year surgical interns are allowed to perform minor surgeries; anyone with less experience may only assist in the operating room. Mistakes made early on in their careers can have far-reaching effects on these young surgeons as well as the patients they have worked on. You could sue the intern and the hospital for medical malpractice if you have proof that: 

  • your young surgeon was not ready
  • they were not supervised during the procedure
  • they broke hospital policy to allow younger surgical interns to do these surgeries
  • the surgery caused you pain, suffering, and subsequent surgeries

The Intern Went Against Hospital Policy

Sometimes the situation has nothing to do with the hospital. Sometimes interns go rogue, which can be very bad for patients. If that appears to be the case in your surgery, and the intern went against hospital policy for performing surgical procedures unsupervised, then you only have to sue the intern. Of course, there were other people in that surgical suite, which means that you may have to include the nurses and anesthesiologist for not alerting the Chief of Medical Staff that an unsupervised younger intern was doing a surgery that they were not authorized to do. Then it turns into a "you against everyone in the surgical suite" sort of case, and you will definitely need a medical malpractice lawyer to help defend your position and get compensation. 

For more legal assistance for your case, contact attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice law.